Looks to me like you have a Smith & Wesson "New Departure" Safety Hammerless top-break revolver in 38 S&W caliber, commonly called a "Lemon Squeezer" since you have to squeeze that lever on the backstrap to cock it. They made them from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Not a particularly valuable gun, maybe $200 tops. The nice pearl grips are worth a good bit.
November 13, 2012, 10:07 AM
That's a pretty clean little .38 S&W. I'd venture to say it's worth maybe a little bit more than $200, namely because you don't see blued ones that often in that shape, and it is a .38 which is a little less common than a .32. Mostly what you see are nickel .32s for sale. However, there was a ton of them made, and many just held dresser drawer duty, so they are definitely not rare. Condition is everything. Depending on how the bore and chambers look, I'd say you could probably squeeze $325 out of it on the auction sites.
November 13, 2012, 11:48 AM
So, to quell my confusion is this a 3rd model or a 4th model or...?
November 13, 2012, 02:40 PM
That's why the Post needs to be moved into the right spot for Radagast to see it and give you the detailed info :)
November 13, 2012, 04:13 PM
And of course the adage about not shooting current 38 Special ammo applies
November 13, 2012, 04:16 PM
It is a Fifth Model , the series ran from 220000 in 1907 til 261493 in 1940.
Is the front sight integral with the barrel?
It looks to me like the barrel might have been sawn off and the front sight soldered back on.
November 13, 2012, 08:09 PM
Yes, that is it exactly!
I never noticed it till I looked under a glass.
Thanks for incite.
November 13, 2012, 08:31 PM
I venture to say its a S&W .38 and NOT a .38 special.
2 TOTALLY different rounds.
Do not try to shoot .38 Specials out of that gun,it stands a good chance of exploding and harming the shooter and any observers.
November 13, 2012, 08:37 PM
A .38 Special won't chamber in a .38 S&W unless somebody has been messing with it like they did a lot of WW II British surplus. That wouldn't work with a Safety Hammerless because the cylinder is not long enough.
November 13, 2012, 09:25 PM
You have a good eye, Jim Watson. I darn near missed that front sight.
The preceding models had the front sight set into a slot and pinned in; the Fifth model had the sight made integral with the barrel. That sight was probably the original, cut out of the front of the barrel along with a piece of the rib, then soldered on to the rib after the barrel was shortened.
A neat job, though.
If you enjoyed reading about "S&W Break Top ID HELP" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!